In the spring semester of 2015, students in several of Wheaton’s Composition and Research courses will receive additional assistance with their writing through the English Department’s new Writing Fellows Program. Funded by a grant from Project Teacher, the Writing Fellows Program offers new resources to student writers, including workshops and one-on-one tutoring from trained Writing Fellows. Each Writing Fellow is assigned to a specific class, thus enabling students to work with the same tutor for an entire semester.
The English Department has chosen “strong writers and careful readers” as the first Writing Fellows, explains Dr. James Beitler, Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Fellows Program. Wheaton students Hannah Barbour, Abby Bullmore, Grace Collord, Rachel Rim, and Philip Kline, who make up the first cohort of Fellows, will work closely with English professors to tailor writing instruction to the needs of individual students.
Kline describes this as “a tremendous opportunity to help students improve skills in research and argumentation that are integral in any field of study.”
At many universities with similar Writing Fellows programs, one-on-one work between students and Writing Fellows has proven to be more than worthwhile. In the spring of 2008, 99% of participating students at Boston College agreed that conferencing with a Writing Fellow improved their finished work. Professors, too, described dramatic increases in students’ confidence as well as their writing ability. Students in the Wheaton English Department now have access to the same encouragement and mentorship of the new Writing Fellows.